Dissertation Defense: Development of electro-microbial carbon capture and conversion systems

May 23 2017 01:00 PM - May 23 2017 03:00 PM


Photosynthesis combines light harvesting, catalytic water splitting, generation of reduction equivalents (NADH), energy (ATP) production and carbon dioxide fixation into one highly interconnected and regulated process. While this simplicity makes photosynthetic production of commodity interesting, the combination of all these different tasks in one metabolism leads to efficiency limitations. We therefore investigated, how splitting photosynthesis into several specialized tasks can be used to enhance efficiencies, and later on combining them into one process of artificial photosynthesis that enhances the solar-to-chemical energy efficiency by at least one order of magnitude.

Accordingly, we investigated the following processes, integration of photovoltaic light harvesting, electrolytic hydrogen production and CO2 reduction, and biological conversion of electrolytic products into a biopolymer. Therefore, we developed two highly efficient electro-microbial carbon capture and conversion systems (Artificial photosynthesis) that exceeds the efficiency of photosynthesis by 3 and 5 order of magnitudes respectively.